UN opens war crime probe into Palestinian shooting

Protesters burned tyres to give themselves a smokescreen - their only defence as Israeli forces opened fire.
Protesters burned tyres to give themselves a smokescreen - their only defence as Israeli forces opened fire. Photo credit: Reuters

The UN is opening an international war crimes probe after more than 60 Palestinians were killed at the border of Israel and Gaza on Monday.

Israeli forces opened fire on protesters rallying against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. Palestinian officials said in addition to the deaths, 2400 were injured - many by live bullets.

It marks the highest Palestinian single-day death toll since the 2014 Gaza war.

The resolution was put forward by a group of countries, including Pakistan, during a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Twenty-nine voted in favour of the probe and 14 abstained. Only the US and Australia opposed.

New Zealand was not involved in the session.

"There is little evidence of any attempt to minimise casualties on Monday," UN high commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said during the session.

Meanwhile, Israel's Embassy in New Zealand has hit back after our Government described the loss of life on the Gaza-Israel border as "one-sided".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it a "devastating one-sided loss of life", and said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has voiced its concerns with the Israeli Ambassador on behalf of the Government.

But the embassy took issue with Ms Ardern's statement, saying Israel has the right to protect its borders.

"Israel is unjustly and against any objective reasoning accused of using disproportionate force against Hamas," the embassy said.

"The use of force must be judged not by the number of casualties (and don't forget that the majority of them are Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists)."

Among the dead were a 14-year-old boy, a medic, a man in a wheelchair and an eight-month-old girl.

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